So Glenn Ford turns 90 today. That means he was 39 when The Blackboard Jungle was released. I was 14, just the right age to see that movie. When "Rock Around the Clock" played over the opening credits, I knew I was in the right place at the right time. I liked the movie so much that I bought a paperback copy of the novel, which was even better and which began my long-term affection for the works of Evan Hunter. I went on to read Strangers When We Meet, A Matter of Conviction, Buddwing, and a number of others in the years after that. I was also reading Ed McBain, but at the time I didn't know that McBain and Hunter were one and the same.
But I digress. I was talking about Glenn Ford, right? I'd seen him before The Blackboard Jungle, in movies like The Man from the Alamo and The Big Heat, and he'd already made an impression on me. The Blackboard Jungle put him firmly among those actors I really liked, and he went on to make some movies that are still among my favorites: The Sheepman, 3:10 to Yuma, Don't Go Near the Water (another one that sent me to the book; William Brinkley wrote a couple of novels that I loved, including that one), Cowboy, Experiment in Terror. A lot of them, including Gilda, will be on TV this week. Click here for a schedule. Ford had a fine career, and I wish him the best today.